in Aerospace / Space

Inmarsat and ESSP partner to manage IRIS

Posted 27 October 2021 · Add Comment

Inmarsat announced today a cooperation agreement with ESSP (European Satellite Services Provider) to manage final testing, certification and integration for the Iris air traffic modernisation programme, in preparation for the service’s commercial rollout across Europe by 2023.

Above: The Inmarsat, ESSP and ESA teams announce their new agreement at World ATM Congress 2021 in Madrid.
Courtesy Inmarsat

ESSP, a pan-European aviation service provider, will focus primarily on technical and service delivery preparations for the Iris programme’s upcoming deployment, including approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Iris has been developed by Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA) to enable real-time collaboration between pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operation centre using cost-effective, secure and highly resilient datalink communications. In addition to receiving digital information such as weather updates, this means aircraft can be pinpointed in four dimensions - latitude, longitude, altitude and time - using '4D trajectories’ to calculate the shortest available routes and optimum altitudes. This not only improves airspace usage to accommodate future growth, but also allows airlines across Europe to minimise delays, save fuel and reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

John Broughton, Inmarsat’s Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety Services, said: “There is monumental support within the aviation industry for modernising air traffic management. The benefits for airlines and passengers are vast, from faster and more efficient flight routes with fewer delays, to improvements in environmental efficiencies, including reduced fuel usage and carbon emissions. The Iris programme will be transformational in this regard and our new agreement with ESSP brings us one step closer to European rollout, expected in the next couple of years. Inmarsat already has a successful track record of working closely with ESSP and we are delighted to further expand on this partnership.”

ESSP was founded in 2009 by seven leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK to operate and provide services for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), a satellite-based navigation system managed by the European Commission.

Charlotte Neyret, Chief Executive Officer of ESSP, said: “The Iris programme is a game-changer for the aviation industry, providing the most advanced new technology to complement datalink communications and meet the challenge of digital, greener and sustainable air travel. ESSP has been working on this important programme with Inmarsat and ESA for several years and we are proud to now expand our involvement. We will provide the full range of ESSP's expertise in implementing and operating mission-critical services to ensure that Iris will offer the highest quality of service to all aviation stakeholders."

Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “ESA is proud to work with Inmarsat and ESSP to digitalise airspace and reduce the environmental impact of flying, while simultaneously improving the efficiency of the aviation industry. The digitalisation of our skies will lead to a greener environment, a better passenger experience, and a more competitive European economy.”

The Iris programme is powered by Inmarsat’s ELERA global satellite network, which delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity, with full global redundancy and unique resilience in all conditions. ELERA capabilities will be enhanced further with the upcoming addition of Inmarsat-6 satellites, the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, the first of which (I-6 F1) is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. The L-band capacity on each I-6 satellite will be substantially greater than Inmarsat’s 4th generation spacecraft and, among other enhancements, delivers 50% more capacity per beam in addition to unlimited beam routing flexibility.



Other Stories
Latest News

Defence organisations concerned over inability to support disconnected ops

IFS has shared research revealing that military operators and defence in-service support providers consider disconnected operations a priority to effectively assist missions that take place with minimal or no information system

UK Military deployed in Scotland to aid Storm Arwen response

Following an urgent request for assistance, the military has been deployed to the Grampian region of Scotland to support the response to Storm Arwen.

Dstl supports new COVID-19 decision-making tool

A new interactive graphic developed by UK researchers including Dstl will help people decide what to do in everyday situations to protect themselves and others.

BA and Phillips 66 agree first UK produced SAF

British Airways will become the first airline in the world to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced on a commercial scale in the UK after signing a multi-year agreement with Phillips 66 Limited.

MAG hosting ‘Runway to Recovery’ for SMEs close to Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports

Small and medium sized businesses can learn more about how they could become a supplier to the UK’s largest group of airports next week, when Manchester Airports Group (MAG) hosts a virtual ‘Runway to Recovery’ meet the buyer event on

FAC conference embraces carbon-free flight

Delegates attending the annual conference of the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC) last month, were left in no doubt about the future emphasis of the sector – sustainability.

ODU UK SK0902311221
See us at
WIRED BT2311141221RAF Museum BT